As one year comes to an end, and another prepares to begin, now is a great opportunity to reflect on your achievements in the past 12 months and embrace a new challenge for the new year…
Follow these steps and you’ll stand a much greater chance of getting the results you want next year. Read through them and then take some time to work through each step.
Reflect, Review, and CELEBRATE!
As I highlighted in my article in the previous edition, entitled ‘Pillars of Success’, one of these key pillars is ‘Celebration’. In the article I emphasised how important it is to celebrate every milestone fully, and every small success along the way. Really soak them up and let it in to help keep the spirit fueled, and the fire stoked!
So with that in mind, begin by stopping and paying attention to what has worked for you over the course of the past year, no really stop and pay attention, and then write it down! However you feel last year went for you, take some time and take stock of all of the things that went well. List your victories and successes, no matter how big or small. They are all important! Your past success are the fuel and motivation for your future ones.
Whilst reviewing, it’s also worth asking yourself: What’s really not working? What no longer makes sense? As the answers to these questions can provide key insights into what needs to change in the year ahead.
Having reviewed, and celebrated, and looked at what needs to change, I dare you to take it a step further and really challenge yourself in the year ahead…
It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, and for the weeks and months to fly by. We all get into a routine that can easily end up becoming a rut! Where are you playing small? What are you tolerating?
Take a stand for really upping your game in the new year!
One of my favourite quotes is: “The greatest danger for most of us… is not that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and achieve it…” Michelangelo
So take his advice and aim higher. Take time to reflect again… what is the challenges that’s calling to you for 2016? It may have been calling to you for some time…
Planning and Action
As always, once you’ve set yourself a new challenge and some goals, the next step is to begin to create a plan of action.
As you start to develop your plan of action, it is crucial to get the timing right It’s very hard to stay motivated when it’s grey and cold outside, the days are short, and naturally at this time of year our bodies (and minds) are in slow-down mode, almost a bit like a semi-hibernation. In the natural cycle of the year it is a time of rest, recovery and renewal. So it’s hardly a surprise that so many of us fail when we try to charge off and make major changes in January! I recommend splitting your plan for the year into 4 phases:
Phase 1: January to March – Planning and preparation.
Use this time to really plan and prepare for the changes you want to make over the next 12 months. By all means start the ball rolling, but take it one step at a time and don’t try and achieve too much. If you fall off the horse, don’t give yourself too much of a hard time. Just pick yourself up, recover, and then get back on.
Phase 2: April to June – Get into action.
Now that the clocks have changed, the days are longer and brighter, and it’s getting warmer outside, it’s time to really swing into action. Spring is the best time to really kick off the changes you’ve planned for the year
Phase 3: July to September – Stoke the fire.
As we come into full summer, it’s important to really stay on track and maintain the momentum you created during the spring. Keep your energy and commitment levels high and keep building on each achievement as a stepping stone to the next.
Phase 4: October to December – Harvest and reap the rewards.
Now is the time to really begin to enjoy the rewards of your labour. If you’ve successfully implemented your plan to date, you should already be able to look back and see some great progress. Enjoy it, celebrate, give thanks, and begin to wind down for the winter and plan to use that time to rest and recover, ready to repeat the cycle next year. I highly recommend adding the American ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday into your calendar!
Break your plan down into these four phases and have specific tasks, actions and accountability for each.
OK, here comes the toughest part for most of us – sticking at it! It’s time to really commit to making it happen – and you’ll need to re-commit over and over again throughout the year. It’s not just a one off process. We’re all human and we all waver. It’s not about implementing the plan flawlessly, in my opinion that is an unrealistic expectation. What’s important is to keep going. Don’t berate yourself for your failures and slip ups along the way, instead focus on recovery. Pick yourself up and carry on. Get straight back in the saddle so to speak.